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Apr. 13, 2006 

This summer’s art-world party in Basel, Switzerland, includes Design Miami / Basel, June 11-16, 2007, the special fair of 21 galleries of art and design, to be held at the Basel Markthalle, the third-largest dome in Europe with almost 6,000 square meters of floor space. Directed by Ambra Medda, the show also features a series of talks and performances exploring the theme of "performance / process" -- for instance, designer Max Lamb’s digging in beach sand to cast pewter stools.

First-time participants include Kenny Schachter ROVE Gallery (London), Max Protetch Gallery (New York), Galerie Yves Macaux (Paris) and Clara Scremini Gallery (Paris).

Returning exhibitors are Antik (New York), Contrasts Gallery (Shanghai), Cristina Grajales, Inc. (New York), David Gill Galleries (London), Demisch Danant (New York,), Gabrielle Ammann / Designer’s Gallery (Cologne), Galerie Dansk Møbelkunst (Paris & Copenhagen), Galerie Downtown—François Laffanour (Paris), Galerie Italienne (Paris), Galerie Kreo (Paris), Galerie Patrick Seguin (Paris), Galerie Philippe Denys (Brussels), Jousse Entreprise (Paris), Magen H. Gallery (New York), Nilufar (Milan), R20th Century (New York) and Sebastian + Barquet (New York). The show is sponsored by HSBC Private Bank, with Audi AG signed on as the automotive sponsor.   

The upstart New Jersey auctioneer Sollo Rago -- a division of Rago Arts in Lambertville, N.J., under the supervision of specialists John Sollo and David Rago -- is having its blow-out spring sale of modern design on Apr. 20-21, 2007. The immense sale features almost 1,400 lots, opening with a large selection of George Nakashima furniture and ending with several paintings of smokers by East Village stalwart Robert Loughlin. In between is an astonishing range of collectibles, including ceramics by Ken Price and Beatrice Wood, a welded and metal painted cabinet by Paul Evans, glass-top tables by Frank Gehry, Silas Seandel and Gio Ponti, graffiti art by LA II and much more. For more info, see

Metropolitan Home magazine’s May 2007 issue, billed as "our annual guide to what’s new & now," showcases 100 projects or ideas making ripples in the world of design. Arraigned in no particular order, the list includes a cornucopia of cool chairs, lamps and coffee tables. But it also pays homage to "white, the color," avocado oil, a bridge in Paris dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir, the cities of Portland (for being environmentally friendly) and Minneapolis (for the new Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Guthrie Theater buildings), a build-your-own-box-of-chocolates website, and the penetrating design vision of Brad Pitt (who underwrote a radical design contest for New Orleans).

More than a couple entries also skirt the always-intriguing edge between art and design. A sampling:

* The Cooper-Hewitt’s upcoming "Design for the Other 90 Percent" show, May 4-Sept. 23, 2007, curated by Cynthia E. Smith and featuring "design solutions for the poor and marginalized around the world" like the "Pot-in-Pot Cooler," the "Big Boda Load-Carrying Bicycle" and "MoneyMaker Pumps."

* Design Sight gallery in Tokyo, a Tadao Ando-designed "research center for design," run by Issey Miyake, whose current show is dedicated to 70 installations, videos, photographs and sculptures that explore creative uses of chocolate

* Cuban artist René González’s 4,800-square-foot, glass-tile mosaic of a tropical bamboo forest at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami

* British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s staircase for luxury leather goods boutique Longchamp’s Spring Street location in New York, a structure that resembles thick strips of leather piled on top of one another

* Shanghai art dealer Pearl Lam, owner of Contrasts Gallery, lauded for wedding "the traditions and esthetics of the West and East in the booming design-art market" (the example offered is Mattia Bonetti’s Embroidery Pop sofa)

* A coterie of different green or socially conscious housing designs -- most notably, Seattle-based architects Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum’s design for a home with "soy-foam walls and an outer skin made from electricity-generating spinach"

* And finally, a project spearheaded by Ann Buttenweiser to convert an 82-foot-long former cargo barge into a seven-lane recreational swimming pool, which is to be docked at Pier 2 in Brooklyn and is scheduled to debut to the public this summer

Los Angeles Modernism, May 4-6, 2007, returns to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with some 50 exhibitors and the theme of "Music & Design." Among the participants are Adesso, Blue Heron Gallery, Converso, Europa, Greg Nanmura, Papillon Gallery and Svenska Mobler. Also on display are special exhibits dedicated to the "Rippen Piano," the first-ever electric piano, as well as a collection of rare guitars, jukeboxes and speakers, highlighting the impact of high design on the world of sound.

Johnny Depp hosts the opening night benefit for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, May 4. Regular admission is $15. For more info, see

The five-year-old Bklyn Designs, May 11-13, 2007, launches its 2007 show at three Brooklyn venues -- St. Ann’s Warehouse at 38 Water Street, Smack Mellon at 92 Plymouth Street and the Bklyn Designs Annex at 81 Front Street. Billed as "New York’s only curated design show open to the trade and public," the project corresponds with New York Design Week. The show’s 65 exhibitors (including 30 newcomers) -- all scheduled to unveil their spring design collections at the event -- range from A&G Designs, Brooklyn Glass and City Joinery to Uhuru Design, Wud Furniture Design and Zia-Priven Design.

Running alongside the event are a number of special design-related events, including seminars with design professionals, an after-hours party sponsored by New York magazine, and tours of the Fowle Forte Building in Fort Greene, where galleries are setting up temporary exhibition spaces for the event. The whole megillah is sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. More info is available at

Cara McCarty has been named as the new curatorial director for the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York. McCarty currently heads the department of decorative arts and design at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where she has served since 1992. The new appointment is effective July 10, 2007.

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